Friday, March 29, 2013

Springtime Renewal - Redux

Note: I got a little off track this week and found myself a day behind and a post short for another. While I attempt to catch up, I thought I would pull a fast one and try to slip in this holiday re-run from last year. Some of the newbie Retorters may have missed it and some of the oldie Retorters may have forgoten it, especially if their memories have gotten as bad as mine. Just don't tell anyone.  Hope you enjoy it....
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Originally Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012









It’s springtime in our little corner of the world and to a lot of different people that means a lot of different things.




For those who observe Easter and Passover it’s a time of solemn religious significance, and for others it’s a time for bonnets, bunnies and colorful eggs.

No matter what your belief system or non-belief system, the common thread that runs through all of it is renewal. And I don’t mean renewing your beach permit (yep…almost time to strap on those silly wrist bands again), car registration, health club membership or your subscription to Sports Illustrated and or Martha Stewart’s Living.

I’m referring to the renewal of life in whatever form or symbolism you subscribe to.

If you’re a person who doesn’t subscribe to any organized religion, or even any of the disorganized ones, you’ll find renewal all around you through the scent of awakening earth, the promise of budding trees and fulfillment of blooming daffodils.

I include myself in this latter category of spring revelers. I’m in no way religious, but in the chi chi modern, new age vernacular I guess you would say I am somewhat spiritual in my beliefs.

Yeah…I know.

I recently heard someone say on a TV show I was watching that religion is for those who seek salvation and spirituality is for those who seek answers. It might have been on “Lizard Lick Towing” or “Hoarding: Buried Alive”…not sure which…but it was on TV so it must be true.

Truth is, I’m not really looking for answers—at least any more—and Z says I’m beyond saving in any way, shape or form.

It’s not that I’m without any sense of universal truth inside; I do believe that there is some sort of order to things and that those things do make sense on some mysterious level.

I also believe there is something greater than me that’s responsible for that order and sense.

For a while I thought it was Donald Trump…then he came out with the “Celebrity Apprentice” and that was the end of that.


Then I thought it must be Orpah, but her new cable network isn’t doing all that well, so now I’m kind of at a cross roads.

I don’t know…and I guess that’s the key: I don’t know…and never will…at least in this life.

But at the risk of sounding much too Zenny, I do know that I don’t need to know either.

It’s enough for me to feel that there is “something” and some form of existence”, be it unknown, that makes sense and lives on through all of us long after this life concludes.

Hopefully, with much better 3D-TV technology.

Bottom line is…breathe in the spring that surrounds us this time of year and enjoy your holiday, whichever that may be.

No matter what you believe or don’t believe, this time of year is a time of celebration… of life and life renewed for all of us.

Enjoy all the food and all the togetherness your tradition brings to your table.

Enjoy your family and your friends and all the love and laughter that they bring to your life.

Most of all, take pride in and enjoy that which you believe and feel in your heart to be true, with respect and acceptance of all that you don’t.

Even the Easter Bunny…because I’ve been trying to figure that one out since I was five….



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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Joy is in the Journey








When I was a kid I couldn’t wait for my birthday to arrive.

Next to Christmas it was the best day of the year, mostly because it involved the two P’s…parties and presents.

Just saying the words…“It’s my birthday”, carried a cache of magic and provided a passport to anywhere I wanted to go…at least in my over imaginative, narcissistic, little mind.

Each new year also meant I could stay up a little later, watch more TV…even stand on the street corner well into night singing with my acapella group.

Okay, I made that last part up…there was no group, just me…and no street corner either; just the corner of my Mom’s walk in closet that smelled of mothballs, which made it all the better.

Now, as I take another step up the ladder (one hopes and presumes, optimistically) towards…yet another gift subscription to AARP… I find myself again wallowing retrospectively in the cold soup of lost days.

Maybe it’s the so called “Monster” Full Moon hovering up above?

Throw in the recent Mercury retrograde—again—and this odd alignment of  Venus, Mars and Uranus, all hovering near the sun at a right angle to Pluto…well…I don’t think I need to say anything more.

Now, far removed from Kiddomcy, the idea of my b-day soon approaching is a troublesome one, and has been for a number of decades now.

Oh, sure…I still enjoy the ego driven, self-serving specialness of the day. You know, the usual… opening cards and presents, going out for dinner, celebrating the Druid Mud Bath Ritual with friends.

I've even been known to sneak off into the closet now and again to belt out a few tunes, but only when I’m alone…except for—well, that’s neither here nor there….

Over time, the further along the road I traveled, I noticed the destinations I set my sights on—the ones I thought would define me—so often ended up bypassed and undiscovered.  Perhaps, even worse, the outposts I did happen upon sparkled more from a distance; their luster lost, along with the pursuit. 


Eventually, the road took so many turns and detours, I found myself twisted, upside down in a maze of recalculations; it was all I could do just to try and get back on track.

When I finally stopped and took stock of the direction I’d been traveling, the roadmap seemed outdated, faded and full of holes.

And then it dawned on me: following a roadmap to a destination was probably the biggest mistake of all…at least for someone like me.

George Harrison, in his final goodbye of an album (another old age reference) said it best, paraphrasing Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat’s remark to Alice,  “If you don’t know where you’re  going, any road will take you there….”

Now, I’m able to look back and see the road I’ve been traveling from the sage distance of time.

I’ve come to understand that all the twists and turns were never detours or obstructions; just a part of the road I’d chosen; the road I missed so much of with my mind focused on the map.

The message has been shouted for so long, by so many others, but I was too lost in myself to hear it.

But I can hear it now…loud and clear, I hear it now.

The joy is in the journey…the destination, just the end.

Oh, sure, it’s easier to say than do…we all know that. 

But I’m making sure I feel the sunshine on my face, every day, especially through the clouds….

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Has Sprung








Spring has sprung; last week, not that you would notice.


It still feels pretty much like winter…mid-winter at that.

Pretty harsh.

But I guess it could be worse.

Not sure how, but that’s what you’re supposed to say in these situations.

Not sure why.

Why can’t we just be annoyed with what we have?

Especially since last year we had about 2 and a half weeks of temperatures in the 70 plus range.

Yeah…hard to recall right now, huh?

I bet no one was saying, “It could be worse” then.

Even though, back then, it definitely could have been…worse.

65 degrees would have been worse.

Partly cloudy would have been worse.

Being transported into the future, into today would have been worse.

Because it is definitely NOT 70 plus today.

Gotta go chip the block of ice off my car.

Defrost the daffodils.

Shovel out the Easter Bunny.

But it could be worse.




 







Friday, March 22, 2013

Boss Being








No one likes their boss.

Not even people like me, who are their own bosses.

Mine is kind of annoying and pushy.

Plus he expects me to do all his work for him.

Putz….

Most times people think they’re smarter than their boss so they resent the fact that they have to do what this person tells them to do, especially if it involves peanut butter.

Other times, people know their boss is smarter than them but still resent the fact that they’re onto their ingenious scheme of calling in sick every Monday and Friday with migraines…even after they’ve started mixing in Wednesdays, as well, just to break the pattern.

They’re clever, these bosses.

I guess that’s how they got to be bosses in the first place.

They probably went to boss school.

You know, where they learned how to boss people around.

Which is kind of confusing, because most of my life people have been telling me not to be so bossy.

So which is it ?

Bossy, good?

Or

Bossy, bad?

I suppose it has to do with your boss-like behavior.

Some bosses want to be your boss and your friend…even if you don’t need a new friend.

They want you to like them…even if they don’t particularly like you.

Mostly because they've had bosses too and they don’t want to be “that guy”.

Well, actually they do, but they don’t want you to think they’re “that guy”.

So they drop by just to chat; to see how you’re doing and ask if you need anything.

They’re letting you know that they consider you their peer and that they’re there to support you in any way they can.

All good things, if it were true, but what they’re really doing is checking to see if you’re working on your NCAA brackets online.

Which you are, but is that really any of their business?

Then there's the overly aggressive, dictatorial type boss.


They make it clear in no uncertain terms that there will be absolutely no monkey business tolerated in the office, which you find odd, not to mention insensitive, considering Burt in accounting’s battle with Hypertrichosis.


Of course these types of narcissistic, overachieving, condescending bosses usually wear out their corporate welcome pretty quickly, especially if you’re proficient in Photo Shop.

Of course, on the other hand, some bosses are fair and mild tempered even though they put up with a lot of nonsense from their charges.

Maybe they really didn't deserve to have their calls forwarded to the Tiki Lounge and Massage Emporium that time.

Or to have the wallpaper on all their electronic devices switched to naughty pictures of Adele.

Let alone have their ringtone reset to the “Brady Bunch” theme song.

A good boss treats subordinates with respect, giving them a chance to shine by seeking out and utilizing the best of their abilities.

A bad boss treats subordinates with disrespect by “asking” them to shine his or her car during lunch…and never tips.

A good boss does his or her fair share of the job at hand and doesn’t asks anyone to do anything they haven’t done themselves, always returns calls and emails and encourages an open exchange of ideas to facilitate the smooth completion of tasks.

A bad boss does his or her fair share of “delegating” all the things he or she doesn't want to do, never returns calls or e-mails, and only encourages an open exchange of anything having to do with the new intern.  

Of course the best way to avoid any and all of these capricious corporate conundrums is to work hard and become the boss yourself.

And then everyone will hate you too.

In the meantime, stop reading nonsense like this and get back to work.

Unless you’re the boss….





Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Snow in March…madness









It’s not even 7 AM as I write this on a dreary, slushy, snow covered day, south of St. Patrick’s.

Dreary, slushy, snow covered day, south of mid-March?

Mid-March…and I just finished shoveling out my driveway and walk, not to mention cleaning off 2 cars, so Z could get off  swiftly to the Bronx...and I could stay for dinner tonight.

We’re not supposed to have snow now!

Tomorrow is the first day of spring….

But it’s barely 33 degrees.

I guess I’m paying for that week in Cabo with its 87 degree temps and body baking sunshine.

Sorry about that.

Who knew?

But the deal is—or at least I thought it was the deal—once we toast the Irish…toast the Irish…and toast the Irish…again…the snow is toast as well.

Yet there I was at 6 AM…shoveling something that seemed an awful lot like snow.

Maybe it was pudding?

Maybe a pudding truck exploded and I was really shoveling pudding.

Or not….

I feel a little bad for the crocuses.  There they were, popping up all around, brightening up the dreary with their little splash of color; minding their own business, doing their harbinger of spring thing.

And now they’re sitting under 3 inches of slush, saying, "What the heck kind of fertilizer is this…?”

The snowdrops are in the same boat, but they can fend for themselves.

I mean they’re snowdrops.

They live for this kind of…fertilizer.

But one sure thing about mid-March, snow or no, is Tournament time.

All over the country folks are studying the seedings and filling out their NCAA brackets…even those that haven’t seen a single college basketball game all year.

And everyone has a system…most of which have nothing to do with expertise, let alone knowledge of the game.

Some folks just go with all the favorites, which is never a good idea.

Nor is picking all the underdogs, for obvious reasons, none of which have anything to do with Sweet Polly Purebread.


Others, with a real handle on the game, will study every team’s past performance and tendencies throughout the year, then analyze, dissect and discuss the matchup ad-infinitum…and still be wrong.

Because that’s just how it works.

Truth is, one needs to take a more scientific approach such as the one Z employs, which pits each team’s nickname against one another.

Wolfpack over Owls…no contest.

Cowboys eat the Ducks for lunch…and dinner too.

Bearcats over Bluejays…are you kidding?

Devils vs. Danes…should be a real dog fight, but who the hell knows.

Wolverines over the Jackrabbits...but only if they can slow them down

Hoyas over the Eagles, mostly because no one is really sure what a Hoya actually is.

Crusaders vs. Spartans…pretty much a tossup depending on who spills the most body oil on the court that day.

Aggies vs. Billikens…have no clue what either of them are…just like saying Billikens.

Wildcats over Tarheels…because it’s hard to jump with tar on your feet.

And finally, Orange over Grizzlies…because everyone knows bears have a very adverse reaction to citrus.

As for me, I take a more passive approach. I just sit back and watch the games, then fill out my brackets afterwards.

I find it to be a pretty foolproof system and I have never understood why more people don’t follow my lead.

But good luck with your own picks, if you bounce that way.

I’m not sure what that actually means but I thought it tied in to the whole basketball thing.

And enough with the snow…

It’s March.
Its' Madness.
Just follow the bouncing ball....






Monday, March 18, 2013

Searching for Alien Life







There was some sort of  scientific study presented recently that stated, without hesitation, there was a very high likelihood that even though other planets might in fact be conducive to life, it probably doesn’t exist.

On the one hand, the same scientists go on to say…they could be wrong…and just don’t know enough about it yet.

So one can only hope that at least the buffet was worth the drive over.

Okay…I admit to being a little snarky, here.  But can you blame me?  I was planning on making the same announcement next week.

And I definitely had a better buffet lined up.

But that's how it goes when one dabbles in the exploration of alien life.

Until an actual alien drives up on one of their actual alien space scooters and asks directions to the nearest I Hop, there’s no way to tell.

Of course the aliens could be living right here, right now, right amongst us, right next door.

Right….?

Which would explain a lot.

Especially about why my neighbor doesn’t have cable.

I mean who doesn’t have cable…at least basic?

Or a mobile phone?

And I’m pretty sure their microwave is just a mock up.

At least from what I can see with my binoculars from the upstairs window.

If that’s not alien behavior I don’t know what is.

Great.

First it’s ghouls…now aliens.

But like the high paid scientific experts said…I could be wrong.

There’s still a lot of data to sift through.

You can only pick up so much from those Wal-Mart baby monitors, even if you do get lucky and stumble on the right frequency.

The other day I heard the baby talking…actually talking.

I couldn’t make out a word of it though…it was all gibberish to me.

So put that one in the suspicious column.

The other thing that has my antennae up, so to speak, is that the automatic lighter thingie on their gas grill actually works.

Every time!

I know….

Plus, these people are always kind and considerate to all the other neighbors…entertain a lot, volunteer and give a lot of money to charity.

I mean who does that?

Of course, they could be Mormons.

I have considered that.

But it’s all going into my official white paper.

I wanted to use blue paper, but Staples was all out.

I’m also waiting to hear back from NASA on that grant I applied for.

I’m hoping to double up on staff.

I need someone to pick up lunch and, to be honest, alien life studies can be a little boring.

It’s not nearly half as exciting or romantic as you would imagine.

All that stuff you see on TV…well let’s say that’s just the figment of some pretty out there imagination.

I have never once had to use my anti-transmorgification suit, let alone the optional thoracic shield accessory.

Not once.

And the car chases are rare.

Especially if you limit yourself to a one block area.

But I figure someone has to do it.

It’s not like Scully and Mulder are still out there searching for the truth.

Except in re-runs.







Friday, March 15, 2013

Ripples






Everyone creates ripples…every day.

In this great ocean of life we—all of us—make a splash, every time we get out of bed in the morning—sometimes big, most times small—that send ripples out into the vast expanse of existence.

And you thought you were just looking for your slippers.

For the most part, the majority of us see ourselves as relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Well, most of us except for my cousin Albert who thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips, just because he won that spelling bee in the 6th grade.

Get over yourself Albert! I knew halitosis was spelled with an “I”…maybe I didn’t want to embarrass you…did you ever think of that!!!

Sorry….

Where was I?

The grand scheme of things….

Right…most of us think of ourselves as sloshing through life swimming in a small pond—if not a small bowl—watching a broader world unfold from afar.

We see all the famous folk—politicians, movie stars, authors, humanitarians, physicians, scientists, talk show hosts, even poultry producers—up on the big stage finding ways to make a better chicken.

We oooh and awwww—depending on how much credence we assign to poultry—and say to ourselves, “If only I had a big idea, I could change the world!”

But we don’t need a bigger chicken to change the world. We—all of us—change the world every day, just by taking our place in it.

Well, except, again, maybe Albert who sends most of his day making popcorn and watching “Magnum” reruns on the internet.

But I digress….

I’ve talked before about the connections we have in life; some given to us, some created by us….not by the DNA we share but by the fact that we have DNA…every living thing.

Some make a big splash, while others slip quietly into the water .

But these ripples we create every time that we step into the soup we call life, no matter how small or insignificant we tell ourselves ours is, extend out and intersect with an infinity of ripples creating a chain of consequence.

The things we did or said when we were 6 had some effect on someone or something, even in the most miniscule of ways.

That effect in turn influenced another action, somewhere along the way, somewhere in the world, somewhere in time, which then tilted the balance of things someplace else.

It could be as simple as a kind word passed, a harsh reaction expressed, a song that touches the heart or a poem badly written that fades from our lives but ripples out into the lives of others…and on and on it goes.

Every choice made, decision reached, action taken or action not taken, ripples out and touches the world.

Most times we never see it, feel it or know it in any way.

But it’s what we do…everyday…in the smallest, yet largest of ways…just by being a part of the world.

I think it’s something worthwhile to keep in mind when we put on our slippers.

If we can find our slippers.

It all matters…and so do we.

Even Albert….




Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Feeling Reckless








I’m feeling a little reckless this morning….again.

So I lathered and rinsed…BUT I did NOT repeat.

Yeah….

And I did NOT wash behind my ears, either.

Then I put on a dirty pair of socks.

I know….

I put creamer in my cup before I poured my coffee.

Don’t even ask about the sweetener.

I opened my cereal box from the wrong end.

I’d already removed most of the “Do Not Remove under penalty of law” tags in the house during previous bouts of recklessness.

But I have not used everything as directed.

And I’m not starting today.

In fact, some of them I used downright improperly.

That’s just the way I feel.

I did NOT shake my orange juice before serving.

Later on I intend to bend at the waist, instead of my knees.

I’m just gonna start opening stuff and NOT refrigerate after.

Try to make me.

I’m using my cell phone WHILE pumping gas.

I am NOT staying in the crosswalk while crossing.

In fact I’m not even waiting for the light to change.

Sunscreen?

Not using it!

I’m using mayonnaise that expired 3 days ago.

That’s right….

Uh huh…

I’m having a conversation with a Republican.

While wearing an old “Friends of Bill” button.

I’m actually gonna try to poke my eye out.

Maybe hold my face in an odd position just to see if it will really freeze that way.

I’m not putting the toilet seat down.

At least not for a few seconds.

What? I’m reckless not crazy.

But I am gonna wash with unlike colors.

If I can locate the washing machine.

If I do, I may just over suds.

Not sure….

I’m definitely thinking about it though, because, like I said, that’s just how I feel.

And while I’m at it I may operate machinery AND drive a motor vehicle, WHILE taking a cold medication that may cause drowsiness.

I’m gonna find a TV show intended for mature audience’s….and watch it anyway.

If I can find a Sharpie…I’m sniffing it.

I don’t even care what color.

I drinking irresponsibly…on one leg…even while I write this.

Matches…I’m not only playing with them, I’m striking with the cover OPEN!

Sorry…I know this is making a lot of you “Goodie Two Shoe/Safety First” folks uncomfortable.

And by the way…I AM walking with my shoes untied.

While running down the stairs….

With a scissors in my hand.

So I’m gonna just take it outside…go get my crazy on…if you know what I mean.

But wait…is it starting to rain?

I’m not going out in that.